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Common Sense Solutions
How interesting I found it to read in the July 11 News Times two articles that seem to be very connected. The first one was, “JOBS ARE GOING UNFILLED” and the second was “READER FEEDBACK” which were responses to this year’s Lincoln County Fair.
The excellent article on jobs and housing, by Joan Brown, cited the help wanted and needed in Lincoln County. She concluded that the barrier to moving here for jobs is HOUSING. “With approximately one-half to two-thirds fewer homes for rent than employees wanted, finding a home can be a significant barrier.” And jobs go unfilled.
(Editor’s note: The local newspaper’s discovery of the connection between scarce employees and NO local available affordable housing has long been debated – without much action – over the last 10 years. There are glimmers of hope on the horizon, but not nearly enough to meet TODAY’S dire need and demand.)
And then while reading the responses to this year’s fair I imagined a solution to housing AND a continuation of the Fair. Here are a few excerpts. “I thought the fair was kinda sad last year; but this year, I really wanted to cry.” “I think it’s pathetic, disappointing…”. “I was disappointed…”. “Sad, It’s almost embarrassing.”. “Don’t waste my time on Lincoln Country Fair.” And on and on, and some saying they would rather attend the Toledo Summer Festival.
How about we combine the county fair with the Toledo Festival and use the prime land close to schools and businesses for year round housing for those who want to come to Lincoln County and WORK? These workers would contribute to the tax base and community ALL YEAR ROUND. How about if the Commons becomes a beautiful place for people to live? How about planning a multi-use living environment, perhaps even including a place for the Farmers Market? Then the Commons would welcome people already living in Lincoln County and would provide housing for new talent in our community.
It seems that a Fair that has seen its day and a housing shortage might join forces for new options and possibilities. In moving the fair, which operates for a few days each year, and instead moving in workers and their families for year-round living we could well bring a practical solution to two dilemmas.